Let’s Talk Turkey… Meatballs, that is!

Let’s Talk Turkey… Meatballs, that is!

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alexia-pagones-editorWant to know a fact about me many might relate to? I’m a snacker – I love grazing throughout the day rather than having 3 large meals evenly spread out. While it’s great because it keeps me from feeling famished and helps me maintain my metabolism, it’s also a serious downfall because I like to log what I eat and keep track of how many calories I consume. I’m guilty of walking past a bowl of nuts or grapes and taking a few or grabbing an occasional handful of chips and, well, those things add up! When it comes time to log my food, I say things like “Well I guess that was ½ cup of almonds” or “I’m just going to call that an ounce of chips” which makes for a very inaccurate calorie count.

So what have I done recently to remedy those inaccuracies while still allowing myself to graze? I started making pre-portioned snacks for myself! Anything I like to grab a handful of or can quickly pick up and eat I’ll weigh out ahead of time so I can snack without worrying I’ll eat too much. This doesn’t just pertain to snack-y foods like fruits and nuts, either. I literally do this with everything – especially my protein. I’ll cook it, weigh it, and throw it in the fridge to grab for later meals.

Meatballs are a great option to make and pre-portion and they’re a perfect choice when you crave something high in protein, low in fat, and full of flavor. I typically use ground turkey in my recipe because I can control the amount of fat in it with varieties ranging from 85% to 99% lean. In this instance, I used 93% lean and tons of fresh herbs and spices to make each bite so flavorful no sauce was needed.

Now, I’m not saying they rival Grandma’s meatballs, but they are definitely in the race and, by using turkey instead of red meat, I don’t sacrifice any flavor in the name of health. Plus, in knowing each meatball is 2-ounces, I can easily grab a few whenever I want a healthy and hearty snack but still want to keep track of how much I’m eating.

What you’ll need:

- Ground Turkey – 93% lean (I used roughly 2.5 lbs. so I had extra)
Ground turkey is packed with protein and is low in both sodium and saturated fat, making it especially wonderful for anyone watching their blood pressure or cholesterol. Turkey also packs a nutritional punch with B-complex vitamins, which help regulate cholesterol levels and promote healthy blood circulation.

- Egg (Just 1, but it you feel the mixture isn’t wet enough, add another)

- Red Wine (I used merlot)

- Sautéed Mushrooms (about 1 cup)
Mushrooms can help relieve high cholesterol and fight against breast and prostate cancers as well as diabetes. It also helps with weight management, and improves your immune system.

- Fresh Basil (½ cup)
- Fresh Scallions (½ cup)
- Fresh Parsley (½ cup)
Pack a ton of flavor in your dishes by using fresh herbs and spices instead of dried. In fact, herbs and spices have antibacterial and antiviral properties and many are high in B-vitamins and trace minerals.

- Grated Parmesan Cheese (¼ cup)

- Himalayan Pink Salt (to taste)

- Black Pepper (to taste)

- Garlic Powder (to taste)

- Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
Crushed red pepper is thermogenic, which means it produces heat in the body and stimulates the metabolism. Add some red pepper flakes into your meals and you’ll have a safe, healthy way to burn more calories and get excessive eating under control.

What you’ll do:

Step 1: Before you do anything, sauté your mushrooms in olive oil, garlic, and a pinch of salt. This adds a depth and complexity to your meatballs, and the mushrooms also add a little extra protein!

Step 2: Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Step 3: As your mushrooms are cooling, combine turkey, herbs and spices, wine, and the egg in a large mixing bowl. If you want to use chives, rosemary, thyme, red onion, or anything else, go for it! Have some fun and let your inner chef shine!

Step 4: Once everything is well-mixed, add in your cooled mushrooms and give it one last toss.

Step 5: Begin to form your meatballs. If you happen to have a food scale, measure out 2-ounce meatballs. If not, just eyeball it – they should be slightly bigger than a golf ball. Place them about an inch apart and fill the tray.

Step 6: Throw them in the oven and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes.

Step 7: Once cooked through, serve and enjoy!

These turkey meatballs pack a huge punch of flavor, and can be served in a multitude of ways. You can enjoy them with sauce or without, on top of pasta or by themselves; the sky is the limit. If I’m serving them for dinner, I like to make a marinara sauce and let the finished meatballs stew for some time before serving. If I want to make a huge batch for quick and easy meals over the next few days, I keep them sauce-less so I can easily grab them for a quick bite whenever I want!

Until next time!

Featured Photo: Shutterstock
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Alexia Pagones
Alexia Pagones
I’m a New York native who moved to Boston for college and never left. I’m a social media marketer by day and a foodie/gym rat by night . When I'm not wearing any of those hats, you can find me binge watching shows on Netflix, dancing like a fool to my favorite music, or off an adventure with my boyfriend and best friends. I live my life to my fullest and like every experience, from a meal to a trip, to be deliciously inspired.
Alexia Pagones

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